Delaware, 1865

Dec. 22, 2020

Delaware, 1865

ex-Virginia Dare; later-Louis McLane

Type/Rig/Class: Steamer

Builder: Harlan & Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Delaware

Dates of Service: 1865 - 1902

Disposition: Sold

Displacement: 350 tons

Length: 153'

Beam: 27' 4"

Draft: 6'

Propulsion: Sail & Steam

Machinery: Walking beam steam engine; side paddle wheels; 13 knots maximum speed

Complement: 33

Armament: 2 guns of unknown type and caliber

Cutter History:

The Revenue Steamer Delaware, a 357-ton (burden) iron-hulled side-wheel revenue cutter, was built at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1861 as the commercial steamship Virginia Dare.  She was purchased by the Navy in October 1861, she was commissioned as USS Delaware and began active service before the end of the year.  During 1862, 1863, and into 1864 she mainly served in the North Carolina Sounds, participating in the capture of Roanoke Island in February 1862 as well as in other offensive and blockade enforcement operations, but also operated in Virginia waters in mid-1862 and for some of 1863.  In late March 1864 Delaware was transferred permanently to Virginia, and spent the rest of the Civil War on the James River, in the Hampton Roads area and on Chesapeake Bay.  Decommissioned in August 1865, she was sold to the Treasury Department for $40,000 (less 10-percent) on 31 August 1865.  After being fitted out in Baltimore, Maryland, she was first assigned to Galveston, Texas in 1865.   She was repaired in Baltimore in 1867 at a cost of $14,100 and was then reassigned to Mobile, Alabama in 1868.  In 1872 she was ordered to replace the Wilderness in New Orleans, Louisiana with orders to cruise to Mobile "occasionally."

She was extensively modified in 1873 for a cost of $11,500 and was renamed Louis McLane in June of that year.  She was then ordered to Pensacola, Florida for duty.  Here her cruising ground was from Cedar Key to Biloxi, Mississippi.  She operated in the Gulf of Mexico for the rest of her career, mainly operating out of Key West.

She was decommissioned on 27 December 1902 and was sold for $4,195 on 23 October 1903.  She became the merchant steamer Louis Dolive.


Donald Canney.  U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).